FARM CONTRACTING SERVICES

We offer a completely unique and professional service, where experienced agronomic advice is combined with practical and experienced machinery operation to implement your pasture programs, and achieve your production goals.

We have a range of modern, well maintained farm machinery to undertake the pasture establishment and maintenance programs for property owners. They include broadacre slashing, precision fertiliser spreading, offset ploughing, deep ripping, seedbed preparation, direct drilling pastures and forage crops, pasture establishment, hay/silage preparation and baling, boom spray application of agricultural chemicals for weeds and insect control.

Although we largely operate farm contracting service in the Upper Hunter region of NSW, we can also transport equipment on a low loader to clients in other areas, if needed, to ensure the job is done right.

This unique service adds major value to clients who do not have the expertise, time or cannot economically justify the high capital investment in farm machinery. Our services can also provide assistance to larger clients who need machinery support to complete key projects within a specific timeframe.

Our modern and well maintained equipment , is ready to help you get the job done right, every time !

Tractors–  110HP  and 135 HP John Deere Tractors.

Seedbed Preparation– 5 m Folding Powerharrows, Offset Disc Plough , Agrowplow Deep Ripper, Chisel Plough, Scarifier, Harrows.

Rock Picking – Schulte 10 ft Rock Rake/Windrower , Schulte Giant 2500 Rock Picker , Stone Picker Scarifier.

Pasture and Crop Sowing. 3m Davimac Baker Boot Direct Drill plus our Duncan 3m DD30 Precision Airseeder with Twin Disc Openers and presswheels.

Fertiliser Spreading- 1 tonne Amazone Precision Twin Spinner Spreader fitted with 1 tonne Bulka Bag Lift Crane and GPS Guidance.

Slashing/Mulching. 15ft Folding Schulte Mulching Slasher.

Hay & Silage Making. 3 m Krone Disc Mower Conditioner, Krone Twin Rotary Rake and our Krone Comprima CV 150 XC Hay and Silage Round Bale/Wrapper all in one

Horse Arena and Racetrack Surface Maintenance . Kiser 10 ft Dragmaster Arena Drag.

We can transport our equipment to major projects if required.

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Here is the historical Annual Rainfall for Scone NSW from 1900 to 2018.
I have prepared a graph showing the years with more or less than 450 mm per annum. Most of our severe droughts recorded less than 450 mm. It clearly shows up all the well known drought years. Obviously the extreme droughts were 350-400 mm per annum range , like is showing for 2017-2018 with the two last red columns.

A year with less than 450 mm will show as a RED column, while those years with more 450 mm as BLUE years.

We have experienced 20 years with less than 450 mm in the last 118 years . So 17% of years in the last 118 years were severe drought years. On the positive side we can expect more 450 mm per annum in 83% of years !

There were only 2 occasions in the last 118 years where we experience 2 consecutive years of less than 450 mm , that was in 1918+1919 , combined total rain 704 mm for this period and now 2017+2018 with a combined total of just 764 mm, virtually 100 years apart. The combination of 2 consecutive years of severe drought really hurts. There were several other periods with very low rainfall which also developed drought conditions.

There is great value in studying our past climate. I acknowledge it is only 118 years of data.
There are some valuable lessons from this graph. These patterns will be applicable to many districts in central and northern NSW.

However, from these graphs for Scone NSW , the following points should be noted.

*Our rainfall is highly variable. As Dorothea Mackellar says “ A land of droughts and flooding rains ! “

* Moderate to Severe droughts are a regular but not dominate feature of our climate, over the last 100 years.

*Our current drought from 2017 to date, is certainly amongst the worst in the last 118 years.

* Over the last 100+ years , most severe droughts appear to run for 1-2 consecutive years but can run for 5-10 years periods, with other lower rainfall periods around them.

* Most of our severe drought periods of 1-2 years, in RED were soon followed by average to above average rainfall year in BLUE. Maybe we will see some relief soon.

*If you look at the very low rainfall period that persisted from 1935-1941 where rainfall was around 450 mm per annum for 7 consecutive years ! Although the probability of several consecutive years (5 years+) of severe drought like conditions , in the last 100 years is very low, we need to acknowledge , it is possible and has happened before .

* If you look at this long term rainfall graph it is very clear, that the period of say 1900 to 1950s was a much drier period than what recent and current generations of farmers have experienced in the last 70 year period. Note the greater frequency of drier periods in RED and the lower peak rainfall events in BLUE ,in the early part of this century. Climatic conditions in the early 1900-1950s were much drier and had a much lower cumulative rainfall pattern, then what has occurred in the more recent 60 years. Our climate of recent times, looks more like what was occurring in the early part of this century. A sobering fact.

* If you look at the peak rainfall events in the BLUE columns, across the table you will note there has been a decline in the frequency of high rainfall/wet years since the very wet times of the 1950s. BUT our annual rainfall events and our total cumulative rainfall , over more recent decades is still better than what was experienced in the 1900-1950 period ! Our climate runs in major cycles. Something to think about !

* One area of concern is that much of our foundation agricultural and pasture research, and our paradigm of agricultural systems for Australia was developed over the last 60 years or so , when our rainfall pattern was better than previous known events. Although it does not seem like it, we have experienced generally a better run of rainfall years in recent decades, than what low rainfall periods Australia is capable of experiencing!

Has these more recent decades of better cumulative rainfall, framed or coloured our view of what we think our climate, water resources, land management as well as what our agricultural and pastoral systems should be ??
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The lack of ground cover on many pasture paddocks due to continued grazing and overgrazing through this extended drought is going to extend many producers drought pain, even when it does rain. Preserving groundcover above 70 % should be one of your drought management policies.

For producers that have some very bare, hard surface pasture paddocks now, or your dedicated sacrifice paddocks, it might be advisable to consider a shallow working with the contour with a narrow tyned cultivator or tyned direct drill seeder. Not applicable to all situations, but may be a benefit to many areas I am seeing. This operation creates some mild surface roughness to slow rainfall runoff, allow better water infiltration and collect surface silt movement. The primary goal is to improve rainfall harvesting in your paddock profile for the surviving pastures or oversown pasture seeds to use during its recovery phase.

The two photos are two identical paddocks, same management, side by side with same slope, same lack of groundcover, same aspect. One untreated, and one treated with narrow tyned cultivator last week before the 25 mm storm rain event on the weekend.

The first picture is the untreated paddock in its overgrazed, bare, drought state after this weekend rain. Note the serious surface soil wash and obvious rainfall runoff/loss. Unfortunately, but to be expected, there was very little water infiltration into the soil surface. Surface soil loss represents a major loss of nutrients and organic matter. 1 mm of topsoil loss over 1 hectare is 10 tonne of soil !! Topsoil loss won't be replaced in our life time.

The second photo shows the huge benefit of implementing some simple soil protection strategies , with narrow tyned cultivator when there is no natural ground cover. Note no wash marks, no soil loss, minimal water loss off paddock , much better and deeper water infiltration very evident, even after this storm.

Drought recovery will be about effective rainfall harvesting. Pastures which have been carefully managed with strong ground cover will recover quicker, be more productive, be stronger and be healthier.
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Stones and rocks on hay or silage making paddocks don't mix , as we all know !! Now might be the time to clean up those paddocks (like our Farm Services Team are doing today) that have more stone than is desired for hay or silage work. Having clean paddocks that can be cut for hay or silage this year could be a major plus given depleted stocks of conserved feed on farm and throughout much of eastern Australia now. Hay will remain a high value product for a while, given this ongoing drought and high demand. Being able to sow a crop in autumn to graze in winter and then maybe make silage or hay in spring could be a high profit strategy. ... See MoreSee Less

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Our Farm Services Team had the pleasure this week of working with Martin and Kriston Feehan to commence their farm development program just outside Scone. Our first stage this week was to cultivate and clean up the surface stone, with our Schulte Rock clearing gear. Hundreds of tonnes of stone were cleaned up leaving these quality basalt soils, smooth and clean in readiness for their future pasture program. ... See MoreSee Less

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March is our preferred month for sowing early winter grazing crops such as Oats, Winter Wheat and forage grasses. . Some clients have asked, "What is the probabilities of various rain amounts in March?" We will be using this information to make decisions on time of sowing and the chances of decent rain to get enough moisture into our fallows, before sowing.
The following table provides you with the probabilities of various amounts of rain in the first half , second half and over the whole month of March , based on the last 120 years data. You can assess your fallows and develop your sowing strategy, for this year. The chances of decent sowing rain events in March are relatively low, but there is a chance, as seen in Table above. With NO subsoil moisture in most fallows, this year, the risks of sowing early or dry sowing are relatively high. Some rainfall models are indicating a good chance of decent rain events in March. Maybe this March will go "rogue" and RAIN ! As previously posted you need to be "Rain Ready"
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